Createspace vs. Lightning Source Print Quality BATTLE (comparison)

I asked illustrator Jessica Warrick to help me out testing print quality between Lightning Source and Createspace for her new book, 50 Happy Things. Previously, I’ve always heard that LS has slightly better print quality, but I haven’t recommended it because it’s a pain to work with and the assumed benefits aren’t really worth it.
 
HOWEVER, in this side-by-side test, the Createspace book for the full-color copies was the clear winner, both in paper quality and ink colors.
 
Lightning Source on left, Createspace on right:
 
 
Lightning Source:
 
 
 
Createspace:
 
 
Lightning Source:
 
 
Createspace:
 
 
Lightning Source: (paper quality noticeably suckier, see-through)
 
 
Createspace: (richer color, nicer shinier ink, better basic paper quality)
 
 
Lightning Source: (printing lines on some pages too)
 
 
Createspace:
 
 
Lightning Source:
 
 
Createspace:
 
 
 
HOWEVER:
This *might* differ for black and white interiors.
It could also depend on each company’s sourcing factory – also results can vary between batches.
 
I’d like to see more examples! If you’ve printed copies from both sources, let me know your experience and I’ll include your pics if you have them.
 

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me
  • Hanna Abreu

    I prepared 2 printed books for my husband with Createspace and at first I was worried the colors will be washed out, but for my surprise, when the books where shipped, the colors were vivid and bright. It was very nice to actually see the books in real life and we are satisfied with the results.

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